UMATILLA, Ore. – McNary Dam’s navigation lock, located at Columbia River Mile 292, near Umatilla, Ore., will be temporarily closed to all river traffic on Thursday, Sept. 8-10, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ operations officials.
The intermittent lock closures are necessary to accommodate workers performing an inspection of the downstream gate. This detailed inspection involves workers using climbing gear and requires the best-possible visibility of daytime lighting.
Commercial and recreation vessels will be allowed to lock through each day from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., following an order of priority to accommodate safe lock operations, according to Corps officials at McNary.
“After the lock reopens each evening, the first five barges waiting will have priority to lock through. If there are more than five barges waiting to lock through, then recreational craft will be locked through after the fifth barge,” explained Bill Gersbach, McNary’s chief of operations. “If a recreational craft can be safely locked through with a barge and its tow, the lock operator will determine if they can safely lock through at the same time. If only recreational craft are waiting when the lock reopens, we will lock them through.”
Recreational boaters can access the river both downstream and upstream of McNary Lock and Dam from nearby boat launches. The nearest fee-free launch available on the south shoreline of the river is the Oregon Boat Launch located just upstream of the dam. The nearest free boat launches on the north side of the river are the Washington Boat Ramp, located just upstream of the dam, and at Plymouth Park, operated by the Corps’ Portland District, located just downstream of the Interstate 82\U.S. Highway 395 bridge over the Columbia River. Explore more boating and recreation opportunities online at www.nww.usace.army.mil/corpsoutdoors.
The Corps coordinates navigation maintenance with inland shippers and cruise lines to achieve minimal impact to the various industries that use the locks. Public Notices and other navigation lock information are available on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx.
The Corps’ Walla Walla and Portland districts maintain about 350 miles of the federal inland navigation channel from Portland, Ore. to Lewiston, Idaho. Ten-million tons of commercial cargo, valued at about $3 billion, is transported via the channel each year, according to navigation industry data. The Columbia-Snake inland navigation system is part of a larger waterborne commerce system that is vital to the economic health of the Pacific Northwest. This import\export gateway allows river transport 465 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean to Lewiston, Idaho.
Release no. 14-067